The Serious Injury Threshold in Florida
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. This means that if you are injured in a car accident, you can recover damages from your own auto insurance regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This system works well for minor fender benders because it saves time and resources that would be used in determining fault for an accident. However, when it comes to more serious injuries, you may be able to step outside the no-fault system and file a liability claim against the driver who was at fault for the accident.
What Constitutes a Serious Injury?
Under Florida law, an injured person can file a claim against an at-fault driver if they have sustained an injury that falls within the statute. The four categories of injuries that meet this threshold include an injury or disease that consists of:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Under the statute, if you have sustained such an injury, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver to recover for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience.
How is a Serious Injury Determined?
Typically, if your injury has caused some kind of disability or disfigurement or requires extensive medical treatment, then it may fall under the category of serious injury. However, sometimes it’s not so easy to determine whether an injury meets the threshold, especially when it comes to determining whether an injury is permanent. This is why it is important to seek prompt medical care and to see your doctor regularly.
Medical records and medical opinion are used to determine whether an injury is serious enough to meet the threshold. A doctor will testify as an expert about the permanence and seriousness of an injury. The defense may ask you to undergo an examination by one of their doctors to see whether there is agreement about the injuries. If in a trial, a treating doctor finds a permanent injury and a defense doctor does not, then it may be up to a jury to decide the issue.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
Determining whether an injury meets the threshold can be complicated, so if you’ve been injured in an accident, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.